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How Lebanon’s independent hopefuls seek to bypass media barriers

Beirut, Lebanon – Ziad Abi Chaker had a tried and tested plan for his campaign strategy in Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary election, in which he is running for a seat in Beirut’s first district.

The environmental engineer wanted to get airtime on mainstream television stations to present his proposed solutions to some of the country’s most pressing economic and political problems after consulting experts.

“But then I got a call from someone, who offered me three to four minutes of airtime for $25,000,” Abi Chaker told Al Jazeera, still baffled. “I said 25,000 what? Do you know what that amount of money can do in Lebanon? We can feed 25 families for at least a month.”

Lebanese will head to the polls on Sunday, almost three years into a crippling financial crisis that has pushed more than three-quarters of the population into poverty and decimated the value of the country’s currency.

The

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